Good jobs to pursue as you're working toward your RD licensure depend on what area you think you might be interested in. If you're not sure, consider trying a job in one area, and volunteering in other areas to get a sense of what you like. Many people who want to pursue clinical nutrition try to work in a hospital or clinic - like a hospital call center, or in a hospital kitchen, or as diet tech taking orders from hospital patients who have difficulty ordering for themselves. You can also do receptionist work at a clinic. Some people work in other food service areas. Others work at community clinics, or with a local sports team that has a dietitian on staff. You can work as a student worker in your college's nutrition office.
The biggest thing to pay attention to is having a variety of experiences that you can use on your internship applications. Currently (and for a while now), only 50% of students applying for dietetic internships get matched to one, so having different RD related experiences is helpful to set your application a part from others. Don't over-stress about that - shadowing dietitians is experience, volunteering with a nutrition-based organization is experience. Work-study in school or your own separate job is experience.
As has been said above, you definitely should talk to local dietitians and dietitian students about their own paths to becoming an RD. There are so many different ways to get here!
As an RD you are working with food and people in many different environments. Jobs in the hospital food service department such as a diet tech, meal host (person that takes patient meal orders, often patients are on various types of diets), tray line, kitchen supervisor all look great on resumes. Working at a grocery store may help with exposure to various types of foods or customer service or a job involving food preparation helps you gain knowledge on food safety and sanitation. Working at a food bank or WIC will give you good community nutrition experience too. If you have a HS diploma some universities hire lab assistants for research projects and this is also really great experience.
Congrats on taking the first steps towards becoming an RD! There is no “right” path to become a dietitian; however, any nutrition experience definitely makes you stand out on an application.
Diet techs are vital to the nutrition team and typically have minimal requirements for hire. Techs assist in different ways- but in a clinical setting, techs typically work in the call center of the hospital to place orders for patients.
Thinking ahead is already showing you have the drive to become an RD- stick with it! Seek out any assistantships, tech, or community positions you can find.
Good luck out there-
Darby Fisher MS, RD